Airwaves Racing enjoyed a solid weekend at Donington Park.
Airwaves Racing celebrated a return to form at Donington Park this weekend (April 19/20) with a trio of top ten’s during round two of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The Derbyshire track supplied non-stop racing drama over the Easter weekend with both Airwaves Racing drivers experiencing highs and woes during Sunday’s three races that saw Mat and Fabrizio share the spoils of the weekend’s results.
Under changing and very challenging conditions, the Airwaves Racing squad looked to be set for a mixed bag of results with Fabrizio managing a strong finish to the weekend’s opening race – making up four grid spots to pilot the #7 Ford Focus ST across the line in P7. Mat had a more eventful race, battling hard in the difficult mid-field to cling on to his P14 spot.
Race two almost mirrored the team’s earlier results as Fabrizio struggled with grip on the very wet track. Conversely, following set up changes to the #6 Mountune-powered Ford Focus ST during the short break; Mat came to life during the safety car riddled second race managing to work his way up through the traffic to cross the line in P7, followed by Fabrizio in P12.
A now dried out track delivered yet another incident-packed final race with the full grid running on the Dunlop soft compound tyre. An opening lap melee offered up the perfect opportunity for Mat, and the Airwaves Racing man took full advantage to steal into P4 in time for the first appearance of the safety car. His Airwaves team-mate also made good use of the diversion with Fabrizio moving up into P8, albeit briefly.
Mat went on to challenge the works’ MG and Honda’s running at the front of the pack, fleetingly racing side by side with Honda’s Matt Neal for third place; but the Airwaves man ran out of laps needed to snatch another spot, finishing in a very decent P4. Unfortunately, Fabrizio struggled with stability issues in the #7 Focus that hampered the car’s performance, and a post-race 30 second time penalty for exceeding track limits only added to the Italian’s woes during the weekend’s final moments.
Crabbie's Racing driver Jack Clarke put in another respectable performance during his second BTCC weekend, bringing the #44 Focus ST home safely in particularly difficult racing conditions. The 26 year old made excellent progress during Sunday’s three races to finish the weekend on a high with a best position of P15 and collecting his first championship point.
The weekend’s strong results sees Airwaves Racing strengthen its position in the overall teams’ standings and move up into third position in the independent teams’ championship. Airwaves and Crabbie’s Racing now have a two week break before the BTCC heads to the fastest circuit on the calendar, Thruxton, for round 3 on May 4/5.
Team Manager Oly Collins said:
“A fantastic result for the team in that last race, Mat drove a great race and proved the car’s pace we’ve all known is there. Fabrizio had a great race in race 1 for P7 and Mat again in race two.
“Jack also had a great end to the day too with a top 15 finish and his first BTCC points. We now get ready for Thruxton and aim to build on this weekend.”
Airwaves Racing driver Mat Jackson said:
“An interesting weekend! Race 1 was very, very hard. We struggled for pace in the car but we sat down and went through the data and pulled out the good points and moved the car forward for race 2. The guys worked hard in the short break to get the car turned around and to come away P7 in the wet is another great result.
“There is a vision now on where we need to go to get more pace and it’s a nice position to be in. We’re painting a picture and its getting bigger. Race 3 was a great result, to be racing alongside the factory Hondas and MG’s is mega and it’s where we should, and deserve to be.
“There’s a clear direction on where we’re going and the results from this weekend show that. I feel a lot more comfortable in the car and hopefully we can go to Thruxton and continue the good form.”
Airwaves Racing driver Fabrizio Giovanardi said:
“I had a good start to the weekend; not a bad qualifying and a good first race, after that I’ve jumped into hell and I don’t know why! The main thing that is making me crazy is not understanding what has changed, but we will work to find out why we struggled in race 2 and 3.
“It’s a positive that Mat did a good job today, so we have got a good way to follow for Thruxton.”
Crabbie’s Racing driver Jack Clarke said: “It was a bit like Brands [Hatch], we finished the weekend where I would have liked to start it really, but it’s a good feeling to have a decent rate of improvement, so I feel good about that. I’ve got a little bit of a buzz from the racing that we had and I will sleep well tonight I think!
“I’ve realised the key of hitting the ground running, and like I said, if we started the weekend tomorrow then I think we’d be in really good stead. We’re working hard now for Thruxton and really looking forward to the next round and I feel that we’re much more in tune now.”